Southern fans celebrate homecoming with parades, tailgates

Southern celebrates 2015 homecoming with parade
Source: Kevin Frey/WAFB
Source: Kevin Frey/WAFB
Source: Kevin Frey/WAFB
Source: Kevin Frey/WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Southern Jaguars celebrated homecoming Saturday with a parade and tailgating before the matchup against Prairie View A&M.

The day started off early with the parade stepping off around 8 a.m. It proceeded north along Scenic Highway. Leading the way was the Southern University marching band, nicknamed the "Human Jukebox."

One of the younger members of the crowd was Gabrielle McAllister, taking in the two-hour long procession with her aunt and grandma.

"I see floats, big pretty floats. I see people dancing on the floats, and I see people having fun," said McAllister, whose favorite part was the dance troupes.

Participants in the parade threw candy, beads, and other goodies to the thousands of spectators lining the street.

"I didn't have a favorite part, I enjoyed all of it," said Ruby Morrow, the mother of a Southern graduate. "It just makes me happy."

However, many could not help but think of the one individual who could not attend the homecoming game or festivities. Southern wide receiver Devon Gales was severely injured during the Georgia game on Sept. 26. He is still undergoing rehab at a facility in Atlanta.

"To get hurt doing something that you love to do, I want him to know personally that we care about him," said Southern fan, Cornell Thorn.

Thorn wore a shirt with Gales' number, 33, and the words "Southern Strong" printed on the back.

"We don't want to forget about him," Thorn said.

Folks tailgating outside A.W. Mumford Stadium expressed a similar sentiment.

"We're still praying for him," said fan, John Selvige.

Near the stadium, a large sign read "We Love 33." Inside, a big "33" was printed on the turf.

Selvige and a large group of friends have claimed a spot near the stadium as their own for decades. Rows of tents and tucks mark their tailgate territory.

"We've been doing this for about 20 years and we wouldn't give it up for anything in the world," said Daryl Lights, a friend of Selvige.

It is a tradition they hope to pass on to the next generation. That includes Lights' daughter, Dianca, who recently graduated from Southern becoming the first college graduate in her family.

Part of the tradition is food. Just today, Selvige and his friends served a buffet of tailgate staples, including BBQ chicken and pork chops, sausage, jambalaya, potato salad and corn bread.

"There's nothing better than fried chicken and a pork chop," Selvige said.

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